Local irrigation linked to food security

2012-08-24 07:40
Deputy water affairs minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi has urged communities to take responsibility for water resources. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Deputy water affairs minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi has urged communities to take responsibility for water resources. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Stockholm - Farmer-led irrigation schemes provide better food security, protect millions of farmers from climate risks and reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, a new study showed on Friday.

The findings are of particular interest as food prices escalate due to a weak monsoon season in Asia and a brutal drought in the mid-western and central US, where the world's largest corn and soybean crops are grown.

When farmers manage their small-scale irrigation systems themselves their yields can increase by up to 300% in some cases and add tens of billions of dollars to household revenues, the Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) found in its study.

The researchers cited the example of a small region in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh where reservoirs were built to store water from the monsoons.

The water can be stored for up to seven months and makes it possible to increase the amount of arable land during the dry season from 23% to 95%.

Water resources


"It impacts on the farmer's income and the whole community. It was very impact-full for me to see that change," said study co-ordinator Meredith Giordano.

Of sub-Saharan Africa's renewable water resources, only 3% are used for agriculture, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Only about 4% of arable land is equipped for irrigation, of which less than 6% is serviced by groundwater.

"We have been focusing on large scale solutions but there is a large range of options out there," Giordano said.

"Small-scale water technologies are very efficient and a lot of farmers, in groups or individually, adopted them and they are transforming their lives," she added.

"It's not one or the other. We need investments along the range," she said.

Between 2009 and 2012, the AgWater project, on which the report is based, studied small-scale irrigation systems among more than 1 000 farmers in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the aid and structural mechanisms.

The study makes recommendations to politicians, organisations and investors to help develop innovative solutions.

The researchers studied numerous options, including pumps, basins, reservoirs, groundwater drainage and various resources used by farmers to improve the situation, Giordano said.

However, there are risks to unchecked expansion of small-scale water management, and access to materials can be difficult which puts the poorest farmers - often women - at a disadvantage.

"And if farmers engage in a water free-for-all, supplies in some areas could dwindle past sustainable levels," the study said.

Innovative business models are also being considered, such as "pump-on-a-bike" schemes in which entrepreneurs cycle rural areas renting out pumps strapped to their bikes.

The IWMI study was released two days before the opening of the annual World Water Week conference in Stockholm, which focuses each year on a specific water related theme. This year's theme is Water and Food Security.
Read more on:    water  |  environment
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!

Nicole is the cover girl for the 2014 edition of SA Swimsuit! Check out some smoking hot pics of here here.

 
 

Men24.com

11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!
Thirty and still single? There’s hope!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may be hard to stay cool, calm and collected. Your emotions can get quite heated in the moment. You may benefit from finding a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.